'Red Dead Redemption 2' Nails the Feel of Old West

It's high time to head back to the wild frontier.
Courtesy of Rockstar Games

Rockstar Games is back with Red Dead Redemption 2, an open-world Western that puts players in the last days of the lawless American West.

On Thursday, the gaming studio showed off the first gameplay video from the hotly anticipated title, sparking fan speculation, conversation and, of course, excitement worldwide. With revamped combat, visuals and open-world interconnectivity from the 2010 original, Red Dead 2 is poised for a massive opening when it hits shelves for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Oct. 26.

Here, Heat Vision's resident gaming aficionados Patrick Shanley, Ryan Parker and Richard Newby break down what was shown in the latest trailer.

Ryan Parker: Wow. Wow. Wow. Did I say "wow"? Wow. I have been looking forward to this game ever since it was announced, and while I was somewhat frustrated the release was postponed, it totally looks like it will be well worth the wait.

Patrick Shanley: Let me add in one more "wow", because that was incredible. I genuinely watched that whole video with a big smile plastered across my face. What I love about Rockstar is that they don't crank out games with the speed of other AAA publishers, and that quality and care is evident in everything they produce. I'd be this hyped if I had to wait until next October for Red Dead 2, so, let me tell you, another two months is a-okay with me.

Richard Newby: Honestly, it had been so long since the initial announcement that Red Dead 2 had fallen off my radar. Obviously, this puts it back on there. Fall gaming releases seem particularly crowded this year with Spider-Man and Tomb Raider chief among my most anticipated, but this will definitely stand out from the crowd in terms of the kind of experience it's offering. 

Parker: It seems this game will be a choose your own adventure of sorts, which is so exciting to me. I love that other characters will depend on you to live and thrive down to the smallest detail. It reminds of of taking care of a Tamagotchi (just dated myself).

Shanley: I had a Tamagotchi, too, don't worry. That's an interesting analogy, though, because while Tamagotchi were fun to care for at first, they quickly became a burden. Red Dead's gang dynamic, however, seems to be a far cry from cleaning up my digital dinosaurs poops. I love that there is so much emphasis on the group dynamic in this game, and I think that lends a huge amount of immersion to a title that is, and should be, dedicated to its story and crafting a living, breathing version of the last days of the Old West. From the little I've seen of protagonist Arthur Morgan, I can truly say I'm looking forward to watching his adventure unfold, and he seems a worthy successor (or predecessor, really, since this is a prequel) to John Marston.

Newby: I'm post-Tamagotchi, but I get what you guys are saying. These open-world games can get a bit tedious with all the tasks and side missions that make it feel like you're never really accomplishing anything and just performing chores. But the character interactions with NPCs could really change that. The relationship building may be the most exciting aspect, and pick up some of the emotional aspects Bioware left behind with their character interactions. If things like hunting or instigating fights can boost gang moral, then I think there's a lot more incentive to really get lost in the world of the game and worry less about reaching a proper conclusion.  

Parker: The fact that it is so much more than rob, don't rob or kill, don't kill, is so enticing. A game like this, I will be in no hurry to rush, so the fact that there is so much to do when just wandering around the land is a huge opportunity. I want to do missions and side tasks, but I think a lot of fun will come from just riding your horse around and taking in all that (digital) splendor. And as a history nerd, I love that this game will seemingly have more nods and mentions concerning the Civil War. Totally noticed that solider in his uniform with the crutch.

Shanley: Good eye. What I noticed is that this is only Part I of these gameplay videos (I know, I'm a sleuth), and this trailer ended with a promise to show off even more side quest and adventuring gameplay. I love that the hand-to-hand combat is getting an overhaul in this new game, and the vistas shown off look absolutely stunning (swamps!), but I'm also really excited to play some cards, hunt some game and take in the countryside from the comfort of a steam engine train — and then rob said train with my buddies.

Parker: Couldn't agree more! And, honestly, I am not sure how much more I want to see. I am so psyched right now, I don't think I can reach a greater degree. Learning how this world works is going to be so much fun once this thing drops so, for me personally, less may be more at this point as far as "here's how it all works." Basically, Rockstar, "Take my money!" 

Newby: These multi-part gameplay videos may be Rockstar's greatest marketing strategy. I didn't find the first game's controls quite as intuitive as I would have liked, but this left me convinced that Red Dead 2 has really stepped things up to create a more fulfilling experience both from a story and gameplay perspective. This may be the closest we get to living out a Westworld scenario, and I'm definitely ready for it!